Posts filed under ‘entertainment’

Seriously Considering Giving Netflix the Boot

I’m seriously considering giving Netflix the boot. It seems to take forever for them to obtain the rights to ship out DVDs for new releases and when a movie finally becomes available it seems to take forever for them to actually mail it to me. My queue is filled with notes reading ‘long wait.’

My husband and I currently subscribe to the 2 DVDs out-at-a-time plan, which costs $14.99 a month to receive Blu-rays. We originally had access to streaming video as well, but once Netflix started charging for that service we got rid of it. Most of the available movies are relatively old and we really only watch older films when we’re at the beach house in North Carolina, which isn’t very often these days.

Rather than waiting for extended periods of time to receive new releases I’ve recently starting renting them from Amazon. I noticed a few months ago that Amazon discounts the prices of a select set of movies each week. The selection varies, but there always seem to be at least three or four movies available for 99 cents at any one given time.

For the price of a monthly Netflix membership I can watch 15 movies at 99 cents a piece. A newly released HD movie typically costs $4.99, so if I didn’t rent any discounted movies I could only rent three movies in a month for the same price as my Netflix membership, but in a typical month I probably only watch three or four movies anyway.

Some people may suggest that I downgrade to the Netflix 1 DVD out-at-a-time plan if I rent so few movies, but a lot of times I hold onto a movie for a few extra days so my husband can watch it with me. Then I use the second DVD as a rotating wish list for chick-flicks he wouldn’t be interested in.

I think I’ll place my Netflix account on hold for now and try to rent exclusively through Amazon. Right now the cost of membership just doesn’t seem worth it.

December 22, 2011 at 4:59 AM 6 comments

Planning a Party on a Budget

Ever since our little one arrived I’ve been thinking about planning a party to celebrate his entrance into our lives. This wouldn’t be a baby shower, but rather a celebration of life party. In essence, it’s an excuse to get our friends and family together to share in our joy and excitement.

If we decide to throw a party I’d like to adhere to a very small budget. We’ve had a ton of expenses lately, (I’ll blog more about those in a future post), and adding more purchases to an already high credit card bill is not high on my list of things to do.

The biggest expenses for a party are typically food, venue and decorations. The cheapest solution is to skip the fancy restaurant and hold the event right in our own home. Since the invite list will be limited to close friends and family hosting in our house will provide a much more relaxed atmosphere. Not to mention we’ll probably need to put the baby down for a nap for a good portion of the time.

I really need to think about how to decorate for an occasion like this one. Since it’s a unique event, not a birthday celebration or a baby shower, I’ll probably look for party related items online. When I take the disposable route I typically purchase plates, napkins, forks, spoons and knives in solid colors. That way I can reuse them for any other special occasion that might arise. A quick Google search for discounted party supplies will return a whole host of companies selling these types of items. I usually pick a few and then compare prices. If you’re looking for a site with comparable prices check out discounted party supplies.

With the venue selected and the supplies out of the way we’ll have to decide on what to serve. The best way to save money is to host the event at a time when people won’t be expecting large portions of food. I’ve found mid-afternoon events to be the best. We typically purchase bulk appetizers from warehouse stores like Costco or BJ’s.

If you have the time it’s almost always cheaper to prepare fruit, veggies and cheese plates yourself. Large bricks of cheese and whole heads of broccoli will cost a whole lot less than tiny squares of cheddar and washed and chopped vegetables. It’s also a great idea to find food that can be prepared well in advance of the event. There is nothing worse than bringing all your friends together and then realizing you spent half the night in the kitchen. I’ve made this mistake a couple of times in my life and I always regret it.

Of course, another alternative is to host a potluck event. I’m not usually a big fan of bring-your-own-food parties, because I typically end up with eight pans of brownies and no ‘real’ food, but with a new baby in the house and little time to prepare for an event like this one a potluck doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

Of course the goal of an event like this one is simply to celebrate the new, little miracle in our lives. It won’t matter what we serve or whether or not our decorations and party supplies match. As long as everyone gets to see and hold the little one it’ll be a smashing success.

October 28, 2011 at 3:50 AM 4 comments

Pulling Out the DVDs

It’s been a very long time since my husband or I watched a DVD from our home library. These days we tend to watch movies ordered from Netflix, either streamed or from the Blu-rays that arrive in the mail. We also rent movies directly through Amazon’s instant video.

We were never the type to buy a lot of movies. In fact I don’t know if either of us purchased more than a handful of the films we own. Most came into our house as gifts received over the years from friends and family.

When I started the great purge to remove unwanted belongings from our home I thought long and hard about selling them. Many of them are plain old DVDs and these days everyone is interested in purchasing blu-rays, so I didn’t think I would make much money by getting rid of them.

Rather than giving them away or finding a buyer on eBay I ended up boxing them up and driving them down to our rental home. The DVDs are now lined up on a long narrow shelf next to the TV where guests can use them.

We don’t watch many movies at home, but when we stay at the beach I love to cuddle on the couch with my hubby to watch them. Tonight, rather than turning to Amazon or Netflix, my husband pulled The Game and the The Matrix off the shelf.

We’ve seen both of these movies quite a few times, but somehow or another I never get sick of watching them.

June 19, 2011 at 2:55 AM 2 comments

Free Online Brain Training Games

I’m totally hooked on the brain games at Luminosity, but my trial subscription ran out and I really don’t want to pay $14.95 to play for another month. My husband and I own a Wii and a Play Station 3, so I poked around at games I could purchase, but I really don’t know one from another.

I was wondering if any trusty readers of One Frugal Girl might be able to help me. Do any of you know of a good brain training/memory game for adults that I can play online for free or that I could buy for our Play Station or Wii?

January 6, 2011 at 4:10 AM 4 comments

One Thing I Will Not Do For Money

Every once in awhile my husband and I find ourselves with extra tickets to Maryland basketball games. As a season ticket holder I’ve probably missed fewer than six games in the last six seasons, but this season I missed three alone.

If, for some reason, I don’t plan to attend a game I typically ask my friends and family if they’d be interested in attending. I usually give away the tickets away or ask for face value depending on the game and whether or not I think I could sell them. Some of my friends, (they know who they are), always pay for the tickets I give them and I must admit that I appreciate the gesture.

If I can’t find any takers among my friends and family I typically turn to craigslist. While I know many season ticket holders that sell there seats to any Tom, Dick or Harry with a wad full of cash, I have a very specific rule: I will not sell my tickets to opposing fans.

Now I realize that someone could dupe me, they could tell me that they are Maryland fans and then show up in support of the opponents, but I typically ask for Maryland fans only and that is what I get.

I am an enormous basketball fan. I love the university and my team and I can’t bear the thought of giving away the home team advantage just for a little extra cash. If I needed the money I’d certainly view the situation differently and if I weren’t such a die hard fan I probably wouldn’t care so much.

So when someone asked me tonight if I’d ever be willing to sell tickets to an opposing fan, I said it’s one thing I definitely do not want to do. Of course I can’t swear that I would never sell a ticket to an opposing fan, but I can say with certainty that I’d prefer to sell the tickets to someone who supports my team. In fact I’d be willing to sell the ticket for less just to know that someone in red and white is sitting in my seat.

March 4, 2010 at 2:00 PM 2 comments

Have You Heard of Groupon?

One of my most fabulous friends introduced me to Groupon tonight. She mentioned the site before, but I completely forgot about it, until an email arrived in my inbox offering $25 tickets to the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Washington, DC. I thought about booking tickets for this event this summer, but now I’m unbelievably happy that I waited. I saved $30 off the price of both tickets and $60 in savings is a heck of a lot of money.

According to their website, “Groupon features an unbeatable deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat and buy in your city. By promising businesses a minimum number of customers, we get discounts you won’t find elsewhere. We call it collective buying power.” You can learn more about the power of Groupon in the FAQ. It’s a fascinating idea to help stretch your entertainment dollars.

If you want tickets to the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Washington, DC for just $25 you must act fast. The offer ends at midnight tonight. If any of you do purchase tickets or sign up for the Groupon website please use my referral link. For every friend that registers and makes a purchase Groupon will add $10 to my Groupon account.

October 28, 2009 at 3:15 AM 1 comment

Making the Most of Netflix

Every night we seem to head to bed later and later and this week was no exception. On Friday and Saturday I watched movies directly from my laptop through Netflix. I didn’t start watching the films until well after 11 and before I knew it 1 am passed and I still wasn’t in bed.

The online Netflix service has been available for quite some time, but in the initial phases it wasn’t accessible for Mac users. I planned to try it out a long time ago, but of course I only got around to it this past weekend. For the most part the service is quite smooth.

There aren’t a ton of movies available through the online portal, but there are quite a few to choose from. If you’re in between DVDs and in need of a movie fix, it’s a decent option. You simply chose the movie you want to watch, click the play button, set the resolution to full screen, sit back and enjoy.

For the most part I didn’t experience any difficulties in watching either movie. Every once in awhile it seemed like the film skipped a frame or two, but I’m not sure that most people would have noticed and it certainly didn’t distract me from viewing the film.

I still prefer to watch movies on TV, (it’s just easier and more comfortable for me to watch that way), but I will definitely utilize this option again. I just hope to start watching earlier than 11 o’clock the next time around.

August 3, 2009 at 2:50 AM 7 comments


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